It's changing people's mind about what culture is really about."
—Jean Giguère, Culture Days co-chair
Catch a concert on a rooftop, dance in the street, learn to knit, or get tips on architecture. Culture Days, the weekend-long festival of arts and culture takes place once again across Canada Sept. 27-29.
In Manitoba, the festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, with over 300 cultural activities. Jean Giguère, co-chair of Culture Days, is proud of the fact that Winnipeg has the most number of events outside Quebec and Alberta, which have been celebrating Culture Days for many more years. "We have more events than Toronto, more than Vancouver," she says.
Culture Days runs Sept. 27-29 (Andrea Ratuski/CBC)
Flin Flon leads the pack once again among communities outside Winnipeg, in terms of numbers of events. This has prompted a fun rivalry between some towns in Manitoba, says Giguère.
In Winnipeg, cultural events will take place in larger venues around the city, like the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Forks and Manitoba Hydro. But artists in the Exchange are also opening their doors and putting together some very fun and creative events.
"They're organizing things that are a little bit out of the ordinary," says Giguére. "That's what we hope, is that it will stir everybody's creativity."
For example, artist Doug Wiebe will teach mosaics at the Exchange Community Church, Jaylene Johnson will lead a songwriting workshop at Manitoba Music, the Foxy Shoppe will offer an introduction to burlesque, and a lighting installation will brighten up Market Ave. East.
Culture Days is free and open to everyone. Giguére hopes that it will spark an interest in the arts and develops an audience for the future.
"People think, 'I don't go to the Concert Hall, I don't go to the ballet.' They find out that the ballet or paintings have a lot to offer them personally. And so that's what Culture Days has done -- it's changing people's mind about what culture is really about."
She points to a letter she received from a single mother of four who had always wanted to take her children to the Concert Hall but couldn't afford to. Thanks to Culture Days, she was able to take her children to some performances and said it opened up a whole new world for her kids.
Watch for singer Micah Erenberg on the rooftop of Deer + Almond during Nuit Blanche (Andrea Ratuski/CBC)
While Culture Days owns the daytime, Nuit Blanche owns the night on Sept. 28 with a big culture party lasting until dawn.
In the past, Nuit Blanche has been centred around the Winnipeg Art Gallery, but this year there are more activities in the Exchange District and St. Boniface. The number of events has grown from 40 last year to over 60 this year.
Giguère recalls the first Nuit Blanche, when 4000 people crowded into the WAG and 4000 more were waiting outside. Police had to be called in to organize the crowd.
"It's not very often you have a museum with people banging on the door saying 'I want to get in,' but the WAG did that," she says, laughing.
Culture Days takes place at venues all over Manitoba Sept. 27-29.